Mental health research goals
Researchers provide the evidence base, developing the theories, models and interventions that professionals work with to help everyone live more fulfilling lives. On World Mental Health Day 2020, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) published its four overarching goals for mental health research. Led by the DHSC, the goals have been collectively developed by funders of mental health research, academics and clinicians, and people living with mental health problems.
Target 1A: Increase knowledge of the aetiology, development
(including risk and protective factors) and progression of
mental health problems at key transition points across the
Target 1B: Increase research on effective mental health
promotion, prevention, treatment and support in children
and young people in education, community and health,
including specialist mental health, settings.
Target 1C: Increase research on implementation of effective
interventions in a range of settings to optimise outcomes.
This includes research on service delivery and organisational
factors influencing outcomes.
Target 2A: Research to strengthen our understanding of the comorbidity of both mental and physical health problems. This
research should address clusters of health problems,
underlying mechanisms and progression, and societal and
individual risk and protective factors and in addition the
implications for treatment and support.
Target 2B: Research to improve the efficacy and effectiveness
of interventions for prevention and increase maintenance of
good physical health for people with mental health problems,
or at risk of developing mental health problems. The aim is to
reduce morbidity and excess mortality.
Target 3A: Research to investigate the mechanisms
underlying mental wellbeing, mental health problems and
related behaviours through use of markers from basic
biological, psychological and social science to understand
how to improve treatments, interventions and support.
Target 3B: Develop and implement new and improved
treatments, interventions and support, including medical,
social and psychological approaches to increase patient
choice and greater personalisation.
Target 3C: Develop and evaluate effectiveness of digital
interventions that complement and supplement face to face
interventions for prevention, support and recovery.
Target 4A: Research to understand the barriers to help-seeking and
service access, and to delivery of mental health services and other
support in diverse settings and across different communities, including
BAME and LGBT+, to address stigma, discrimination and social
Target 4B: Research to accelerate the implementation of existing best
evidence at the population and individual level. In addition, implement
evidence on how patient choice and joint decision-making make a
difference to outcomes in routine care.
Target 4C: Increase research to inform strategies for tackling social and
health inequalities to improve public mental health.